Oral hygiene is extremely important to your dental health and is usually referred to as taking care of your mouth through proper brushing and flossing habits. Good oral hygiene contributes to both health and cleanliness of your teeth and gums, whereas poor oral hygiene may lead to a series of problems and diseases.

Good dental and oral hygiene helps to prevent the formation of plaque, which is the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the hard surfaces of teeth. Plaque can further cause dental diseases, the most common of which are decay, gingivitis and periodontitis (the so called gum disease).

Tooth decay, gum irritation and foul breath
When oral hygiene is poor or improper, there is plaque, accumulated on the hard surfaces of teeth. Consequently, when eating, bacteria use the sugar and the starch from the food and releases acid. It further leads to tooth enamel decay over time, resulting in holes or cavities in the tooth and to gums' irritation, causing bleeding and foul breath. Of course, the cavities can be cleaned and refilled with inert materia. Yet, they need to be cleaned properly in order to avoid subsequent spoiling, which will eventually lead to a tooth loss.

Tartar or calculus
Tartar (or calculus) is the yellow substance deposit formed as a result of the hardening of accumulated due to irregular brushing and flossing plaque. Its surface is abrasive and rough and it therefore retains plaque. If tartar leads to gum disease.

Gingivitis is the first phase of gum disease. Its symptoms are inflamed gums and painless bleeding when brushing or flossing teeth. With the necessary dental care, the process can be reversed. Yet, if ignored, gingivitis can deteriorate to a more advanced form of gum disease, named periodontitis.

Usually periodontitis is recognized when gums are red, swollen, bleeding. It leads to the destruction of the structures supporting the teeth, bone including. This affects the teeth in a way that they become loose and require removal. The condition of the widening spaces between the teeth and the exposed root surfaces further enables decay formation.

Cardiovascular and joint problems
Specialists have observed some links between the poor dental health and the cardiovascular and joint problems. This still has not been investigated completely, but imagine that, among other benefits, good oral hygiene could help you to avoid heart disease!

How do I know my oral hygiene is adequate?

  • Cleaning your teeth twice every day, in the morning and at night, is a must;
  • Unless prescribed otherwise, use a toothpaste with extra fluoride as it maintains tooth enamel healthy and protects teeth against bacteria;
  • Replace your toothbrush once in every three months;
  • Floss your teeth. This way you will remove the trapped food and the other debris stuck in the gaps between your teeth and you will prevent them from tooth decay;
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year and have the health of your teeth and gums monitored. This way you will get timely recommendations about preventive actions that you need to take.

Special dental care for:

  • Infants –Tooth structure of infants is different from the one of adults. Infants' teeth should be cleaned either with moist lint or with a soft toothbrush. The amounts of toothpaste used for them must be limited, especially if it contains fluoride, as big quantities of the ingredient can be toxic to them;
  • Adults with partial or full dentures or bridges – in this case you should follow adequate dental and oral hygiene as instructed by your dentist.

Foods that cause tooth decay:

  • Foods with high concentration of sugar 
  • Acidic drinks with a low pH value 
  • Sticky foods 

Foods good for oral health:

  • Foods with high concentration of fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables - they increase the saliva flow and neutralize acids, participating this way in the cleaning of the teeth of food particles and sugars during chewing.
  • Rich foods without sugar - milk, yoghurt, rice, meat, fish, etc.
  • Fruits and vegetables with high percent of water - pears, melons, celery, cucumbers, etc.
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